Friday, 24 July 2015

Thames Tideway

The Thames is tidal downstream of Teddington, to complete our circle we had to incorporate a 5 mile tidal section, from Teddington to Brentford, to get us onto the Grand Union canal to head north. It is best to do this at slack water because narrowboats aren't really equipped to cope with strong tides. There is all sorts of conflicting advice from Tom Clancy readers on narrowboat forums, but it is really very simple.

All you need to do is to decide which day you plan to complete the tidal section, the lock keeper at Teddington is very helpful and will tell you by phone when to arrive to take advantage of the tide, there are ample moorings (£8.90 per night) before the lock. We were told to arrive at 6.50 am and off we went along with with three narrowboats and two cruisers, at slack water it is no different from being on the non-tidal Thames, nothing to be worried about so long as you don't go in bad weather.

Entering Teddington Lock

Teddington Lock full

Great weather

We were very lucky with the weather on Wednesday which made for an enjoyable trip, we followed a very slow boat whose skipper knew where to turn off for Brentford, which in fact is simple if you look for the landmark immediately after the turning. As we turned we lost control of the boat for a while as the tide pushed us downstream, but Melissa soon got back in control and we made the turn with no problem. Thames lock at Brentford is much smaller than Teddington lock so there is a fair bit of hanging about if you are at the back of your group.

Onto the tideway

Turn just before the sculpture to Thames Lock

After Thames Lock things get grim for a while going through Brentford, Southall and Hayes, before starting a continual improvment as you head north through Yiewsley, Uxbridge and the outskirts of Rickmansworth and Watford. Yesterday (Thursday) was a very pleasant eleven miles from Harefield to a rural mooring on the outskirts of Hemel Hempstead. Today, Friday, looks to be an enforced rest day due to the rain, before heading to Cow Roast Lock just north of Berkhamstead on Saturday.

Back on the Grand Union

Full re-stock at Tesco

Is the steering wheel connected to the rudder?

North of Harefield

How much longer?

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